To Kragujevac by Train (V)
Serbia has long tradition of railway transportation and Kragujevac has its noticeable role in it. The first traffic with steam traction in Serbia was opened in 1856, and Serbian Railways as a company is traced back to 1881 when King Milan I declared formation of the Serbian National Railways. In 1884 the railroad from Belgrade to Nis was constructed. Two years later, in 1886, the diversion track from Lapovo to Kragujevac was completed and the building of Kragujevac Railway Station, the very same building that stands today, was erected. King Milan I traveled by the first train to Kragujevac!
But, there is probably some kind of lack of talent for maintaining & servicing railroad & trains & travelers in Serbia. Anton Pavlovich Chekhov had even written the mocking story about his "adventures" traveling by train across Balkans. Again, Kragujevac has the exceptional role in proving this phenomenon.
In theory it is possible to travel by train to Kragujevac. In practice – such attempts achieved the status of urban legend. There is at least one confirmed case of that we know about. The protagonists were two Japanese scientists, who were supposed to take part at symposium in Kragujevac. They reached Belgrade easily, by plain. Equipped by map, they made the great mistake choosing the train to complete the last bit of their long travel. They managed to arrive at the final destination, shocked and exhausted, after more than five hours! Luckily, not to late to fulfill the purpose of their travel, which brings the happy end to this story. Just for comparison – travel between Belgrade and Kragujevac by car lasts about 90 minutes, by bus – no more than 120 minutes.
My personal record, achieved in 1994, is – 13 hours! From that time things have changed a lot, but not enough for anyone to choose to be another case of urban legend.
Just another interesting fact – Railway Station in Kragujevac has no usable public toilet.
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WARNING: Avoid Autosaobracaj Company (I&V)
If you see the sign of Autosaobracaj Kragujevac, try to avoid that bus. There are chances to travel normally, but you can hear a proposal from bus-driver to stand for 10 hours as there are no place to seat down, and the fact that you have reservation for the seat, payed two days in advance, may not help, as they have sold the same reservations to the others. But they care to protect their customers from kittens, so your kitten will not be allowed to enter Autosaobracaj bus.
So, if you want to be sure to have seat in the bus or if you travel with pet, no matter how small it is – avoid Autosaobracaj Kragujevac.
You can read at the Autosaobracaj web presentation: "In our business philosophy, the word 'friend' dominates – it refers to all employees, to all business partners and to all our passengers… Therefore, our motto is JOURNEY WITH THE FRIEND!" – what a hypocrisy!
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